A Heroic Doctor's Fight Against Sickle Cell
Thousands of children in Sierra Leone die each year from the widely neglected Sickle Cell Disease. Screening programs would diagnose children early and give them a better chance of survival, as well as allow couples to properly plan for families.
Professor Cheedy Jaja (University of Cincinnati) has partnered with us in an effort to change the course of the longtime disease through the use of Sickle SCAN®. Dr. Jaja is a clinical and translational scientist with a doctorate in Nursing Science. Although he has lived and worked in the United States for over 30 years, Dr. Jaja has a strong connection to his birth country of Sierra Leone. He has risked his life to help and treat the decimated citizens of Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, in which ten doctors and 300 nurses died. And now, Dr. Jaja’s personal mission is to screen, document, and treat the Sickle Cell Disease epidemic in Sierra Leone. He has successfully opened a sickle cell clinic and a clinical research program in Sierra Leone, at a time when no facilities existed there to make a definitive determination on whether people had SCD.
Dr. Jaja testing a young patient with Sickle SCAN®
Dr. Jaja with his young patients in Sierra Leone
To aid Dr. Jaja in his valiant efforts, we launched the “Save a Life in Sierra Leone” T-shirt campaign in the summer of 2017. For every T-shirt sold, one Sickle SCAN® test went to Dr. Jaja in Sierra Leone. The funds we raised from the campaign combined with research funding from the University of Cincinnati, helped us deliver over 900 tests to Sierra Leone. Each test determined the sickle cell status of a Sierra Leonean to begin life saving therapies or family planning.
We are very proud to have worked with Dr. Jaja on a campaign that had life-changing impact on hundreds of people. And we are looking forward to joining efforts with him and other medical professionals around the world in future projects that will help break the vicious cycle of sickle cell.